Episode Guide > Season Two > Picture If You Will

OAD: April 21, 2000

Written by: Peter Neale

Directed By: Andrew Prowse

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Summary:

Rygel loves to shop and apparently has a new shopping buddy - Chiana. While visiting a commerce ship, Chiana comes across an unusual picture. The alien portrait includes a likeness eerily resembling Chiana. Rightfully disturbed by the strange artifact, Chiana decides to leave it alone. But Kyvan, the alien dealer, insists Chiana should have it and gives it to her. Remember ST2 the Wrath of Khan? Beware Romulans bearing gifts - apparently John hasn't let Chiana in on that bit of Earth culture and she freely accepts the portrait. She'll be sorry...

Shortly after arriving back on Moya, the portrait changes, showing Chiana with a broken leg. Almost immediately she trips and hurts her leg, just as the portrait foretold. Chiana, thinking it a coincidence, dismisses the unfortunate event. Zhaan, however, isn't so sure it means nothing. Chiana's cavalier attitude turns sour when the portrait changes again - this time showing her consumed by flames. Panicked, Chiana insists the portrait is removed from her presence. The crew, now highly agitated by the strange portrait, tries to get rid of it. Before they can dispose of the strange portrait, Chiana is consumed by fire in the ship's refrigeration unit and is reduced to ash.

The crew destroy the portrait, but it returns unscathed and with a new image of death. D'Argo is the next to die - just as the picture foretold. It becomes clear the portrait isn't foretelling anything - it is causing the deaths. Only Zhaan would seem prepared to deal with the murderous mysticism, but she is gripped by fear. When John is shown on the portrait, Zhaan purposely pushes him into the Prowler, electrocuting him just as the portrait said he would die.

Interestingly, when the crew members die, they actually disappear. No blood, no body - nothing. Clearly, something is not as it seems and Zhaan sets into motion a plan to discover who or what is causing the deaths of her crew mates.

Analysis:

The first half of Picture If You Will plays like an episode of The Twilight Zone. One by one, Moya's crew are being knocked off and no one seems to have much idea what is causing the disappearances. Must admit, the scene of Aeryn flying John's "pile of dren" module is amusing and jarring. I associate Aeryn with Peacekeeper technology, not flying John's primitive contraption. Then, just when the show looks like a winner, Muldis shows up and the intensity falls apart. Muldis, the vampire-like bad guy from season one's TOBM, is back and he's not worse than ever - just more annoying.

Oh, Muldis is still full of the one-liners and he created a lovely place to hold the crew. But he doesn't seem very menacing, at least compared to his prior engagement with John and Zhaan. When he finally captures his true prey--Zhaan--we should expect quite a battle of mystical wits. Instead, Zhaan does a nice flip twist, flies through the air, and knocks out Muldis in one punch. She defeats him, with some help from Aeryn, quite easily. It seems Muldis should have waited a little longer to regenerate before taking on the powerful Zhaan. At the end of the episode, no one has even a hair out of place.

At the end of TOBM, even though Muldis was defeated, there was a sense of consequence. John didn't make headway with Crais and Zhaan had unleashed her dark impulses with no guarantee of regaining control. Zhaan won, but there was a price to be paid. I felt no such thing with this episode. The crew disappears, Muldis shows, and Zhaan defeats him - end of story. Too bad, PIYW had the makings of a great episode and ends up falling well short.

 

 

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